On March 5, 2003, on the 50th anniversary of Serge Prokofiev's death, the "Kultura" channel of the Russian TV showed the film "Serge Prokofiev", created by the Andrei Konchalovsky Foundation in the framework of the film series "Great People" the idea of which was conceived by Andrei Konchalovsky himself.
It has been a long time since the personality of Serge Prokofiev was the subject of a film, and last known works dedicated to his life and music can hardly be called masterpieces. The success of the new film is to a large degree due to the publication of his "Diary" at the end of 2002. This is a very voluminous work, literally overfilled by most interesting facts and details concerning the composer's life from 1907 to 1933. Out of this huge body of data, the authors of the film had to select most interesting quotations to help forming the visual fabric of the movie. Taking into account the predefined length of the film (50 minutes), the task was not a simple one. In fact, reading Prokofiev's "Diary" leaves one under the impression that a life that rich in events and production merits a more detailed screen version. However, the authors succeeded in this very difficult task and created what I would call a trailer for a future long film (which, indeed, exists as a project). The existing film is characterized by a highly concentrated content, the main stages of Prokofiev's life are present, and one feels a very strong drive. One can also feel a certain hastiness, but it is probably due to the desire to fill in too much at any cost. Some tactical errors do not spoil the general impression, even though they seem strange: for example, there is practically no difference in the voices off reading the texts by Lina Prokofiev and Mira Mendelson. The beginning of the film (an interview with Tikhon Khrennikov) does not seem to me a very brilliant idea, either. The graphic inserts are somewhat old-fashioned and do not correspond to the modern quality of Serge Prokofiev's music and image. It would be also good if the source of the texts used in the film were identified: as things stand, some people will think that they were invented by the film director, and some others, that they have been taken from the "Authobiography" or from some musicologist's work. This isn't true: most important part of texts come from Serge Prokofiev's "Diary" - a book that at the moment is known to few, but whose popularity is quickly growing.
The main impression the film leaves is that one wants to see more, and at least to see the same film one more time. The energy and emotional drive of the film is not tiring; on the contrary, it provokes the appetite and the desire to learn more about the composer's life and to hear his wonderful music.
"Serge Prokofiev", a filmconceived by Andrei Konchalovsky
2003, Andrei Konchalovsky Foundation
Film director: Galina Ogurnaya